Irving Tubby Schwartz, 86, key witness in Mandel trial

February 27, 1996|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

Irving Tubby Schwartz, who ran a family garment-service business for many years and as a friend of political power-broker Irvin Kovens became a key witness in the federal prosecution of former Gov. Marvin Mandel, died Feb. 19 of a brain aneurysm at Northwest Hospital Center.

Mr. Schwartz, 86, was born and raised in East Baltimore, where he got his nickname to avoid being mistaken for another person by the same name.

"It seems there was another Irving Schwartz in the neighborhood who had some trouble with the police," said his daughter, Eileen B. Shaivitz of Baltimore. "So he became 'Tubby' to distinguish himself." Later, he made it part of his legal name, she said.

The family business, D. Schwartz and Sons Inc. on North Gay Street, serviced the sewing, cutting and pressing machines that made heavy-duty clothing in Baltimore's garment industry. It still is operating, run by relatives since Mr. Schwartz retired about 20 years ago to devote his time to investments.

Mr. Schwartz was a witness in the federal prosecutions of Mr. Mandel, Mr. Kovens and several associates -- which led to convictions during the 1970s that were voided in 1987. The criminal case involved questions of stock ownership and the transfer of racing days from one track to the now-defunct Marlboro race track.

Attorney Ransom J. Davis, who handled a later civil case, said Mr. Schwartz kept a desk at the furniture store of his longtime friend, the late Mr. Kovens, and went there almost daily.

"He was a compelled witness in the case," Mr. Davis said. "Tubby Schwartz was the linchpin of this 'conspiracy': It was the prosecution's theory that the [Marlboro] stock was secretly owned by Kovens and was being held by Tubby."

In 1993, Mr. Schwartz lost his legal fight to regain $600,000 worth of interest in the race track. His holdings had been part of a criminal forfeiture action by federal prosecutors, and he had settled for only $400,000 of about $1 million in 1984.

"The irony of it is, all the convictions were thrown out -- including the forfeitures," Mr. Davis said. But Mr. Schwartz lost the forfeited money.

Mr. Schwartz was married in 1938 to Lillian Epstein, who died of cancer in 1994. After her death, he moved from their home on Clarks Lane to the North Oaks retirement community.

"He was a very gentle man, a kindly man," his daughter said. "People who knew him, knew he could be counted on to help."

Services will be at 10 a.m. today at Sol Levinson & Bros., 6010 Reisterstown Road.

In addition to his daughter, Mr. Schwartz is survived by a son, David Schwartz of Sydney, Australia; two grandchildren, and two nephews.

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